Marketing your membership program can be daunting. What do you do first? Should you focus on blogging and SEO or put all of your effort into social media? Should you ask your current members to spread the word? Perhaps the right answer is “All of the Above.”
In this post, we’ll dive into four of the easiest strategies for reaching prospective members. Let’s get started.
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1. Focus on Content Marketing
Content marketing is all the rage these days, and there’s a good reason why: It works. Prospective members who are looking for your services will often find you through Internet search. However, in order for them to find you, you need to have content out there that meets their search query.
Let’s say that a prospective member has the question: “How do I meet other (insert industry) professionals in (name of city)?” Ideally, you will likewise have an article or blog post entitled “Meet Other (industry) Professionals in (city).” The prospective member decides to ask Google this question. Google will then return your relevant result, and now you have the opportunity to convert the prospect into a member.
Search engine optimization (SEO) requires more than simply creating relevant content. However, relevant content is at the heart of SEO and content marketing. In order to capitalize on search engine traffic, you must create content that not only answers the question of the search engine user, but also inspires trust.
Make a list of all of the most important topics that you need to discuss for prospective members. What does a prospective member need to know before deciding to join your organization? Take a look at your most frequently asked questions. You can often turn each question into a full article.
Then, after you’ve amassed a collection of around 10 articles on your website, be sure to connect the articles together through a series of internal links within each article.
Remember this: The goal isn’t to get a prospective member to join your organization after reading one article. The likelihood of someone joining immediately upon awareness of your organization is slim, although it would be nice if it did happen that way. Most prospects will not convert after experiencing just one interaction with your organization. Research shows that it requires nine interactions on average before a prospect “buys.”
One way to encourage more interactions with your organization is to link to other relevant articles. Another way is to encourage email signups (with the help of a lead magnet). Through email, you can continue to market to your prospects without them being directly on your website or social media platform.
2. Focus on Social Media Marketing
Social media is a great option for attracting new members to your organizations. Unlike content marketing and SEO, you don’t have to wait for prospective member to initiate a search. You can reach out to them by targeting the right audience.
There are two ways to use social media to market your organization. You can either pay for promotion or you can allow connections to happen organically.
To be honest, organic reach is definitely more challenging these days because social platforms like Facebook and Twitter have become pay-for-play platforms. However, it is still possible to reach prospective members through free strategies. For example, consider hosting a Twitter chat or posting a livestream video from industry conferences or events.
To reach prospective members organically, you’ll need to think in keyword terms. Because you can’t promote your posts for free on social platforms, you’ll need to rely on optimizing your content for search. It’s very similar to what you’ll do for SEO. Once again, think like a prospective member, and create keyword-rich content that answers their pressing needs.
The best way to reach your prospective members is through paying for promotion on your social media platform. And perhaps the best social media platform for doing so is Facebook.
- It’s wildly popular which means that your target prospective members are likely to use it
- It has a ton of information about its users
- It’s so affordable
- You can easily start and stop campaigns
- You can learn more about your target audience
While PPC and content marketing campaigns focus on keywords and search engine users, social media marketing focuses on audiences, interests, and behavior. Using the exact search term isn’t necessary. With Facebook marketing, you simply need to identify the right audience and deliver a relevant message.
There are several ways to create audiences on Facebook. You can create a custom audience based on criteria that you plug in. You can create an audience based on people who are connected to you (i.e., people who’ve joined your email list but haven’t become members yet). Finally, you can create an audience based on people who resemble, or look like, the people who are already connected to you. This audience is comprised of people who are probably not aware of your organization yet.
Also, you can use Facebook to remarket to people who’ve visited your site within a specific set of days. Target prospective members who are obviously interested but not ready to commit just yet.
3. Activate Advocacy
Referral marketing plays a huge role in reaching prospective members. Not only can referral marketing extend your reach, it can be much more effective than other strategies on this list.
If it isn’t already, make referral marketing an integral part of your outreach. Here are two easy strategies:
Incentivize referrals – You can simply ask members to refer your organization to their colleagues and friends. But to be more effective, attach a reward (i.e., earn $50 for each new member who signs up through your special account). In fact, consider setting up an affiliate network that’s mutually beneficial to you and the affiliate marketer. A small reward can motivate your current members to spread the message.
Use digital certificates – If you don’t want to use monetary incentives to inspire referrals, you can use digital certificates. Instead of paper certificates that are meant to hang on walls (or get lost in file cabinets), a digital certificate is meant to share socially. The beauty of digital certificates is that it can generate referrals back to your site. Those who are interested in learning more about your organization can simply click on an embedded link right on the digital certificate. Your proud member or graduate can become a powerful marketer for your organization simply by sharing their digital certificates on social media. Learn more here.
[bctt tweet=”The beauty of digital certificate is that it can generate referrals back to your site. Here’s how:” username=”accredible”]
4. Switch up Your Membership Offers
Sometimes, a prospective member fails to join because of an undesirable membership structure. Do you have variety in your membership? Consider these options:
Offer a free trial – Free appeals to everyone. Some members need to simply try your program risk-free before making up their minds.
Offer short-term memberships – In addition to free trials, consider limited runs. While this option may not be right for every organization, don’t feel like you’re bound to the standard one year contract, either. You can offer six month agreements, or even month to month.
Offer increment billing – Instead of billing all at once, offer to bill on installments. For example, while the member may still be locked into a year agreement, they’ll only need to pay every month.
Offer a guarantee – Guarantees go a long way into inspiring confidence. Stand behind the touted benefits of your membership program by a money-back guarantee.
Offer multiple tiers of membership – Not every prospective member will need the full array of benefits. Consider portioning out your membership so that it appeals to a wider group of people.
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